Georgia’s unemployment rate dropped to 9.9 percent in April from 10 percent in March — the first time in nearly two years that it was back in single digits, the state labor department said Thursday.
April was the third consecutive month for job growth.
“This developing trend shows increasing confidence in the economy,” state Labor Commissioner Mark Butler said in a statement.
The last time the state’s rate was below 10 percent was in June 2009. A year ago, the rate was 10.1 percent.
There were job increases over both the month and year, the labor department said. There were 3,834,100 payroll jobs in April — up eight-tenths of a percentage point from March. Also, there was an increase of one-tenth of a percentage point from April 2010.
Most of the new jobs were added in leisure and hospitality, professional and business services, trade, educational and health services, and construction.
The number of long-term unemployed workers — a persistent problem in the state — fell 2.6 percent from March to April. Still, there were 254,800 Georgians out of work for at least 27 weeks — 18.4 percent higher than a year ago. The long-term unemployed account for 55.1 percent of Georgia’s 462,370 jobless workers.
Also on the negative side of ledger, 54,337 laid-off workers filed initial claims for unemployment insurance benefits in April — an increase of 8 percent from March. But, there was a decrease of 10.4 percent from April 2010.
Most of the first-time claims were filed in manufacturing, administrative and support services, trade and construction, the labor department said.
April marked the 43rd consecutive month Georgia has exceeded the national unemployment rate, which is currently 9.0 percent.
The labor department is scheduled to release metro Atlanta’s rate next Thursday. For March, it stood at 9.8 percent.
- Henry Unger, The Biz Beat
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